Dirty cars are ‘a risk to road safety’

Photo by Arun Prakash on Unsplash

A recent survey in the Netherlands among motorists shows that 7 percent of passenger cars are never washed. This can become a serious safety hazard, now that more and more cars are (compulsorily) equipped with cameras, sensors and radars.

For the sake of road safety and as a precaution regarding possible damage, Dutch branch organization BOVAG urges motorists to have their vehicle washed regularly – especially in winter.
A large number of people now rely on the operation of all kinds of safety and comfort systems that assist the driver to a greater or lesser extent when driving. Those systems depend on unobstructed visibility.

Mandatory in Europe

Almost every new car nowadays has parking sensors and a rearview camera on board as standard, while adaptive cruise control (automatically keeping distance from the car in front), emergency braking systems, lane assistance and blind spot warning systems have also rapidly made their appearance. To this end, cars are being equipped with intelligent cameras, radars and or lidars in bumpers, windshields, mirrors and grills. To promote road safety, the European Union has made some of these systems mandatory for all new car models since 2022.

This includes Intelligent Speed Assistance (ISA; a type of speed limiter that recognizes traffic signs), as well as Advanced Emergency Braking (automatic braking that recognizes emergency braking of the predecessor), Emergency Lane Keeping System (prevents unintentional lane departure) and even reversing camera or (parking) sensors. “For reliable operation of many of these systems, it is of course crucial that the relevant electronic eyes can do their job and are therefore clean. Especially in winter, there is a good chance that visibility is obstructed by snow residue, mud and brine.

‘Too much hassle’

Almost half (48 percent) of the motorists who say they never wash their car give as their reason that a clean car does not interest them. 36 percent feel it is of little use, since the car gets dirty again quickly anyway, and the same percentage find car washing simply “not fun.

A similar survey in the UK from a few years back learned that 30% of British car owners never washed the car. And only 12% clean it on a regular basis.

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Author: Rene Passet

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